Friday, October 21, 2022


I find so much delight in caramel. Both in making it and enjoying it. That signature chewy texture, combined with that unique deep and rich flavour; it truly is irreplaceable in desserts.
I have written before how much I love praline in every form, and this cake is really just perfect to me; with its soft cake layers, dense peanut caramel, and creamy ganache. The symphony of flavour and texture in every slice.
And what makes it even better for me is that the praline does not have to be completely smooth; I find it absolutely amazing when it is left slightly imperfectly blended, with bits of caramelised peanuts still left intact.
Serve it well chilled, with a cup of good coffee, and enjoy.

For the fudge cake layers
90 grams plain flour
100 grams granulated sugar
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
small pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
30 millilitres vegetable oil
150 millilitres boiling water
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
For the peanut praline
150 grams peanuts; roasted, unsalted
150 grams granulated sugar
50 millilitres plant double cream
50 grams vegan block butter, unsalted
small pinch of salt
For the chocolate ganache
150 millilitres plant double cream
100 grams dark chocolate (70%)

Start by making the praline. Take a metal platter, line it with baking parchment, arrange the roasted peanuts in a single layer, and set it aside. Add the sugar to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and shake it lightly so the sugar sets in an even layer. Place it over medium heat and let the sugar melt slowly. You can gently shake the pan, but do not stir.
Once the sugar starts to brown around the edges, slowly move the melted parts towards the centre. Keep cooking until it starts to turn darker in colour and becomes very fragrant. As soon as it becomes a deep amber colour, remove it from the heat, pour it evenly over the prepared peanuts, and leave it to cool down completely.
While the praline is cooling, make the chocolate cake. Take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix very well. Line a small (15 cm) round baking pan with baking parchment, bottom and sides, and set it aside. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add in the warm water, oil, vanilla, and the vinegar, and whisk until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and immediately bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 10-15 minutes, or until done. Check it with a toothpick, making sure it stays fudgy, and not dry. Let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then turn it out onto a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature.
Once the sugar has hardened completely, and is completely cool, break it up carefully, and blend it until a very coarse and thick paste forms. Add in the softened vegan butter, and blend again. Finally add in the plant double cream, and blend until the desired consistency is reached. I like it to have a bit of texture, but you can blend it until completely smooth.
Level the cooled cake, if necessary, and slice it into two equal layers. Place the first one onto a serving platter, place a cake ring around it, and tighten it in place. Spread the peanut praline over the first cake layer, and add the second layer on top. Gently press to level it, and place the whole cake into the refrigerator for at least four hours.
To make the ganache, chop the chocolate and bring the plant double cream almost to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate and set it aside so it starts to melt. Mix the ganache vigorously until everything is melted, and let it cool down to room temperature. Pour it over the cake, and tap the platter gently on the counter, just so it sets nicely, then place the cake back into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Serve in thin slices, with strong coffee. Yields 10 servings.